Compact SUV Under $45K: Gold Star Value Awards

From a staggering 26 SUVs, we've crunched the numbers down to the top three.

Mazda CX-5 Maxx

From a staggering 26 SUVs, we've crunched the numbers down to the top three.

1. Mazda CX-5 Maxx
IT SAYS everything about the enduring popularity of the sports utility vehicle that this is the single biggest Gold Star Value Awards category. Here, 26 of the category’s finest (well, everything on sale) fought it out for top honours.

Even with a glance at its stats, the entry-level CX-5 has all the ingredients of a value-packed winner. It’s cheap to buy, at $27,880, with resale (76 percent) that reflects the fact compact SUVs are as popular used as they are new. In front-drive manual form, the atmo 2.0-litre petrol engine works okay, and what the four-pot lacks in grunt it makes up for with 6.4L/100km official economy on 91 octane juice. The Mazda’s annual comprehensive insurance bill is among the cheapest in class, too, at $950.

Meanwhile, the 12-month service requirement brings family-friendly convenience ahead of rivals with less generous six-month and nine-month intervals. But the real appeal of the class-leading CX-5 is that the value is designed into it from the start. It’s a fine-driving, well-packaged and efficient compact SUV that also happens to be easy on the wallet.

2. Kia Sportage Si
WHAT hurts the Kia soft-roader’s score is that it’s 28 percent thirstier than the CX-5, and worse-off for depreciation (71 percent) and insurance ($1012). However, the Korean brand’s five-year* warranty comes to the rescue to snare the Sportage a silver medal.

3. Mitsubishi ASX LS
‘LS’ MAY stand for ‘less stuff’, but also ‘less spent’. Limiting equipment to the must-haves makes the base ASX a bargain buy. Cheap insurance, solid resale, and a five-year warranty help, but 7.6L/100km economy is nothing special.

*STOP PRESS: Since pubication of this article, Kia has increased its warranty to seven years/unlimited kilometres

Compact SUV <$45k Purchase Price Comb. Fuel (L/100km) Fuel RON (min. rec.) 3-year fuel cost Redbook resale (%) 3-year deprec. AAMI insurance prem. Service interval (months) Warranty (years)
Mazda CX-5 Maxx $27,880 6.4 91 $3653 76 $6691 $950.03 3 3
Kia Sportage Si man $25,990 8.2 91 $4680 71 $7537 $1012.46 12 5
Mitsubishi ASX LS $24,990 7.6 91 $4338 65 $8747 $1006.44 12 5

Notable classmates: Hyundai ix35 Active, Suzuki S-Cross GL / Number of cars crunched: 26


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